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Five Quarters of the Orange

...and a challenge missed
"This Book Makes Me Cook", the book club Bhags and I started exactly a year ago, is now 11 member strong. We have read some great books in the last 12 months, some old favorites, some classics. And in Joanne Harris, most of us have found our favorite fiction writer. We began in June with Chocolat, the first book in Joanne's food trilogy. We end May with the last one in the series : Five Quarters of the Orange.

This is a book about the irreversibility of what wars bring. This is also a book about the most merciless and selfish of the human tribe : the children, whose world so focuses on what they want and need that they shut out the consequences. Some would say they don't know better. Maybe Framboise, our nine year old heroine, did not.

But then she returns as a sixty year old to the village of her childhood, to a place scarred by what happened many, many years ago. It's the darkest book in the food trilogy, but it's also the most compassionate of the lot. As you would expect, an inherited recipe album is central to our story here. Just like the recipes strewn all over the book.

When I read the book the first time, I knew what I wanted to make. Then I read it the second time last year, and I rued the time was not right to make Framboise's special sour cherry liquor. This third time, I read it with a purpose to create this liquor recipe haunting me for a few years now. I can even recite it without opening the book, I know it that well. I prayed that cherries would come in before the month ends, and here they are. Hordes of bright red boxes on every fruit stall.

And yet, life took over. And for the first time since we started the book club, I don't have a recipe to offer. But I do have a suggestion. If you haven't read the food trilogy, read it. Even if you are not a book lover. You just might discover a new love.

Let's not stop at my no-show though. The other members of the book club have great inspirations from the book:
Sweatha made Framboise's Buckwheat Orange Pancakes
Aquadaze made Chicken Stew

In June, we are reading one of my top favorites : The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. If you would like to come join us, do leave a comment here and I will get back with details.


Curry Leaf said…
Simran,I am yet to post my buckwheat pancakes for 'Boise.I am a bit busy now,so may post either tonight or by tomorrow -school reopening blues for me(my daughter's as well).Just wanted to let you know.
Curry Leaf said…
Better luck next time.Its sad that you missed for 'Boise.
debbmarie said…
Hi Simran ... I would love to join your book club! I was thinking of you today as I was shopping at an Indian Grocery. You have gotten me started on cooking Indian food. I submitted the Biryani picture to foodgawker and it was accepted. I have had so many hits to that posting! I will look forward to details on the book club. Thanks ...Debbie
email address:
Bharti said…
koi nahin yaar. The book does sound good and when I have a less busy schedule, I'll give it a go.
Srivalli said…
thats sad have perked my curiosity!
aquadaze said…
hey...i managed to post something. BTW, the way the cherry liqueur described makes you want to make isn't it? But guess I will run out of patience, just staring at the bottle for that long a time!
Aparna said…
For once, you didn't cook this month's book. Neither did I. Like I told you, I couldn't find the book!
Hopefully I'll be able to manage the next one. :)
Dips said…
Hey...Books and cooking..what a great combo..and absolutely my favorite...I would like to join in if you cool people will have me :)
Jaya Wagle said…
Books and food. Combine two of my favourite things in life? A resounding YES. Tell me when and where and I will be there.:)

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